Atlanta is full of fun neighborhoods with lots of funky little shops and restaurants. I love living right in the heart of the city, because within a few blocks, I can get everything I need: groceries, a bank, coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and more. Some of my favorite spots are a little farther, but nothing a 20-30 minute walk can't fix.
As it gets hotter [and stickier, bleh] in Atlanta, my walking radius shrinks a bit and I start to frequent the same close by spots more and more. One such place is Belly General Store, a Virginia Highland staple that sits in a space filled with history. Once a beloved soda shop for over 70 years, the space now provides in-house made olive oil bagels, cupcakes, sandwiches and more.
Above, you can see my lunch: a roast beef sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce and a horseradish aioli. All their sandwiches come with a deviled egg, which is always a treat for whoever I'm with, since I'm not a deviled egg enthusiast. I also grabbed an old school bottle of [diet] coke and a bag of Route 11 potato chips. The meal came to around $12, which is on the pricier side for a quick bite to eat. Another slight irritation was the fact that when I asked for ketchup, the person at the register chuckled at me, saying "we don't do ketchup here." That put me off a bit, since I can very well see why a fine dining establishment might not carry ketchup packets, but a 'general store' refusing to provide any condiments [I tried, they won't give you mustard either] seemed odd.
I'm one of the few [weird] people who enjoys dipping their kettle cooked potato chips in a little ketchup. It's like eating french fries, but in a lighter, crispier form. Add a pinch of sriracha or hot sauce to the mix and you've entered a whole new realm of awesome. So I get why ketchup might be a non-essential for most in this application, but Belly also sells breakfast sandwiches made with eggs, and I know not everyone likes ketchup on their eggs, but if a poll were to be performed [and I'm this close to initiating one] I'd say a hefty portion of the public would at least like the option of ketchup! I mean the classic egg and cheese on a bagel isn't worth batting my eyelashes at if there isn't any of the sweet, salty red stuff at my disposal. [Hmph. Okay, rant done.]
I will say the bread my sandwich was made with was phenomenal, and my tomato was flavorful and not bland and watery as one can sometimes get with their lunch meat. And slap horseradish on anything and I will happily eat it, so that was a welcome touch to my sandwich.
Rants aside, I really do like hanging out at this place. I love the old time feel of Belly. The original brick walls, along with the hefty farm tables and benches breathe a bit of history into the space. There's a great eclectic quality that stems from the way the place is decorated.
It's no surprise the space was actually used for a movie a couple years back. The cheesy, contrived rom-com Life As We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, was filmed throughout Atlanta, with some critical scenes taking place right in my neighborhood and inside Belly. I know all this because I had a
major role in the film [as a superb extra- I think my best shot is somewhere between minutes 16 and 21] and spent a lot of time hanging around set [this much is true- my stardom, less so].
So although I find their food a bit overpriced, and their lack of ketchup appalling, [oh and they really need to turn on the fans or AC, since it was awfully hot in there this week, but I digress...] I come back because it's so convenient and comfortable and I can compromise on everything else because it's a little piece of my neighborhood, and a little piece of Atlanta history [and b-movie history while we're at it].